NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Since many of professor Antipas Harris’s students are too young to remember the terror attacks of 9-11, last Thursday, in a lecture titled “Life, Death, and Meaning,” his lesson explained what happens when the unexpected strikes.
“I talked about life, death, and meaning and how normalcy can be interrupted even in the middle of a semester,” said Dr. Harris, who is also the founder of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk.
Two days later, urban-style terrorism hit an off-campus party near ODU. NSU freshman Angela McKnight and 25-year Zabre Miller were killed; five other victims survived a hail of bullets.
Dr. Harris’s classes will resume Tuesday, but he says life for his young students will never be the same.
“Tuesday, we will talk about how reality sets in when normalcy is interrupted, and suddenly what was an idea, that seems so far away, now has been concretized in our very community,” said Dr. Harris.
Over the past few days, just about every corner of the region has seen violence. Most of the cases involved guns, but Norfolk is also investigating an alleged stabbing.
Dr. Harris has another lesson about Urban Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“We see children at 12 years old saying that they don’t want to live, they want to commit suicide because they have had so much of life in so little time,” said Dr. Harris.
On the evening of October 18, using the arts, Dr. Harris’s Urban Renewal Center will offer hope.
The Urban Renewal Center has partnered with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and WAVY 10. We are going to have an Evening of Hope; we want to emote comfort and hope amidst the unprecedented violence we are experiencing.
The mission is urgent.
“I picked up a young man one day who said to me, ‘I don’t know what I would say or what I would even do if another one of my friends is killed by gun violence.’ He said so many of them have died that ‘I don’t even have any emotions to cry anymore’… that struck me deeply and I thought we can’t let the future go on like this,” said Dr. Harris.
The program will also honor first responders and medical professionals.
“An Evening of Hope” will take place Tuesday, October 18, at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk and feature performances by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, click here.